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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Norilsk Miners Killed

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Two miners died in the Arctic Norilsk region after a giant underground rock collapsed into their shaft run by Norilsk Nickel, an Emergency Situations Ministry official said Sunday.

One miner died on the way to the hospital. The other was found dead inside the Oktyabrskaya mine near the city of Norilsk after the rock caved into the shaft 750 meters below ground late on Saturday, the official said.

No one else was inside the shaft at the time.

Reactor Shutdown

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Volgodonsk Nuclear Power Plant's reactor was shut down because of a short circuit on a power line, Interfax reported, citing an unidentified administration official at the plant in the southwestern Rostov region.

The electrical problem that caused the shutdown happened at about 12:45 p.m. Sunday Moscow time, the report said. Radiation levels at the site were normal, and consumers were being supplied with electric power from reserves at the plant, it said.

Maintenance work to fix the problem will be completed by Nov. 17, the official was cited as saying.

Mausoleum Closed

MOSCOW (MT) -- Vladimir Lenin's mausoleum on Red Square will be closed from Monday until Dec. 29 for renovation work on preserving his body, RIA Novosti reported Sunday, citing FSB spokesman Sergei Devyatov.

"Lenin's body is in excellent condition and, properly cared for, it can stay in the mausoleum for at least another 100 years," the agency reported a spokesman from the state biochemical research center as saying.

The mausoleum was last closed in spring of 2002.

Pope Meeting Hailed

MOSCOW (AP) -- An Orthodox Church spokesman on Thursday voiced hope for improving relations with the Vatican in the wake of President Vladimir Putin's meeting with Pope John Paul II, but said nothing about the prospect of a papal visit to Russia.

"We know that there are people in the Vatican who show goodwill toward our church," Interfax reported Father Vsevolod Chaplin as saying. "We hope that this attitude will prevail and the Vatican policy will stop bringing us unpleasant surprises."

In a gesture of reconciliation during his meeting with Putin on Wednesday, John Paul had his aides bring into the Vatican Library the icon of the Mother of God of Kazan revered by Russian believers, which usually hangs in his private chapel.

John Paul has said he wants to return the icon as a gift to the Russian people, but he did not give it to Putin to take home.

Hostage Freed

MOSCOW (MT) -- A hostage has been freed in Ingushetia's Malgobeksky district and two suspected Chechen kidnappers arrested, Interfax reported Saturday,

Alexander Petrosyan, who was abducted last month in Nazran, was found in a house in the village of Voznesenskaya. Along with the two suspected kidnappers, two alleged accomplices were arrested, the agency reported.

Conviction Upheld

MOSCOW (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the appeal of Anatoly Babkin, a 72-year-old professor at Moscow's Bauman Technical University, upholding his suspended eight-year sentence for spying for the United States.

Babkin was convicted of providing sensitive information about a high-speed torpedo to American businessman Edmond Pope.

"The materials of the case prove my innocence," Babkin told NTV television after Thursday's verdict. He added that he might appeal his conviction to the European Court for Human Rights.

'Grotter' Story Stolen

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) -- An appeals court on Thursday blocked the publication of the Dutch translation of a Russian children's book in the Netherlands, saying the story was stolen from the popular Harry Potter books.

The decision by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal reaffirms an earlier ruling by a lower court that the stories by Russian author Dmitry Yemets about a magical girl named Tanya Grotter too closely resemble J.K. Rowling's best-selling character Harry.

In their ruling, judges rejected the argument from Byblos publishers in Amsterdam that the Russian work is a parody on the Potter series.

It said the story violated copyright law and ordered Byblos to reimburse legal fees of 2,560 pounds ($3,000) to Rowling.

"The conclusion is that Tanya Grotter is an unauthorized adaptation of Harry Potter," the ruling said.